Thursday, June 20, 2019

High Performance Agile Team Training Available

Get training in the skills that lead to high performance teams; skills that attendees will use every week. Basic agile training gives teams a good head-start and a significant boost in performance is often seen. However, that performance often stagnates well before high performance is achieved. How can you get your team to the next level? This training course addresses that gap. Attendees will build upon their foundation level agile training and be taught the skills that regularly lead to high-performance teams. Learning skills that are easy to replicate in their own team. Attendees will finish the course ready to add value to their team. 

Sustained high performance for their team will then be achieved through collaboration that harnesses the full strength of their team, clear customer centric goals and amplified delivery capability. The content and aims of this course closely align to the Heart of Agile ( from Alistair Cockburn. Crammed full of interactive exercises, working in pairs or small groups gets you to experience the skill. The briefest of presentation material is used to introduce the exercises; this course is heavily skills focused.

Andrew Rusling will deliver the course, bringing with him, his experience of training over 400 people in agile, Lean, Scrum and Kanban; as well as transforming five companies. Andrew has the passion, experience and capability to provide an engaging and thought-provoking experience.

Attendee will Learn and Experience:

  1. Creating a Team Charter with Vision Statement, Values, Working Agreement, Decision Making Strategy and Proactive conflict management strategy. When they do this with their teams it will provides a foundation for their collaboration, reflection and customer centricity.
  2. Collaborative approaches to: ideation, design, problem solving, decision making, & planning.
  3. Easy to repeat skills for coaching and developing their team members. 
  4. Customer interviews - how to understand the world of their customers.
  5. Experiment design, and execution.
  6. Verifying User Stories will deliver value for the customer.
  7. Measuring Outcomes (customer behaviour) over Outputs (delivered product).
  8. Observational testing - how to dramatically improve the Customers Experience.
  9. Creating Continuous improvement actions that actually get completed
  10. Probabilistic forecasting for predictable planning
  11. Going faster by delivering less of the scope than we think we need.
  12. Visualise flow of work, removing waste & limiting work in progress to expedite delivery.

If you are located in South East Queensland, Australia and interested in this course, please contact me:

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Avoiding vanity metrics with Cohort Analysis

At Halfbrick Studios the “Rebel Alliance” team was working on Fruit Ninja Fight. They had validated their Problem/Market fit and were now in the Product Validation phase. Following a company-wide play test, they had refined the core game play and were ready to start an alpha trial with external players.

There were the experiments they planned out to release into the alpha over six weeks
  1. Baseline version, just basic game, no progression
  2. Improved tutorial
  3. UI/UX tweaks
  4. First trial of progression system
  5. Second trial of a different progression system
  6. Third trial of a different progression system

Looking at their experiments through the lens of a Total Retention report (above).
  • End of Week 2: Improved tutorial, we saw a slight improvement over the base version.
  • End of Week 3: UI/UX tweaks, produced a solid increase in retained users
  • End of Week 4: First trial of progression system, solid increase again. progression system is working
  • End of Week 5: Second trial of different progression system, great improvement, seems like second progress system is the best.
  • End of Week 6: Third trial of different progression system, some improvement, confirms second progress system was the best

Now let us look at those same experiments when we add Cohort Size to the Retention report. By cohort I mean how many players did the add to the Alpha test each week.

As you can see they started to add more and more players each week as they went along.
What does this mean for the Total Retention report? Its flawed, near useless for judging the outcomes of experiments. This is what the Lean Start-up describes as a vanity metric.

It will always keep increasing, and by boosting the cohort size the trend seems to change, so we can’t see what outcome we have achieved from each experiment.

In the world of games just using this report is a death sentence. Unless you work out what is keeping players in the game you need to keep adding more and more players, the cost of find these players keeps increasing and very soon the game becomes unprofitable.

Now let us look at those same experiments through the lens of Cohort Analysis.

On the X Axis you can see the percentage of people retained from each cohort. This automatically rules out influence by varying cohort size.

You can see that the baseline version, version with improved tutorial and version with UI/UX tweaks perform about the same. Meaning the tutorial offered NO improvement and the UI/UX tweaks were a waste of time.

The first two progression systems show a meaningful jump from the first three cohorts, but both performed similar to each other.

Cohort 6, the third progress system to be trialled, so far appears to be the clear winner out of the three progression systems.

Cohort Analysis shows us the true story of how each of our versions is working out. We learnt to avoid vanity metrics and focus on Cohort Analysis focused on our validated learning.

Halfbrick Studios retains all rights over Fruit Ninja Fight and all associated IP